Bathstore jobs at risk as administration looms
The bathroom store chain Bathstore is facing collapse putting 700 jobs at risk at its 168 sites across the UK.
It is the latest big retailer to be facing a crisis as the pace of decline of the high street accelerates.
Welwyn Garden City-based Bathstore, which is the UK’s biggest bathroom specialist, has 13 shops in the West Midlands including Platts Road, Audnam, Stourbridge; Watling Street, Cannock and Friuary Retail Park, Stafford,
Advisory firm BDO has been lined up to handle a potential administration of the loss-making business after efforts to find a buyer proved unsuccessful.
The group’s owner Warren Stephens is believed to be unwilling to put in more cash to save the business ahead of June’s rent day.
Bathstore was founded in Croydon in 1990 and was bought by the American billionaire in 2014, when he backed a management buyout.
The business had been sold in 2003 to the builders’ merchant Wolseley which sold it on to the private equity firm Endless in 2012 in a £15 million deal.
Bathstore made a pre-tax loss of £22m on sales of £141m in 2016-2017.
Tough trading conditions continued into last year when Bathstore began a turnaround plan aimed at restoring profitability.
A notice of intention to appoint BDO as administrators is likely to be filed early next week.
If there is no rescue deal agreed before then it would mean the collapse of another well-known British retailer in the wake of Maplin and Toys R Us, which have disappeared in the last 18 months.
The retail sector has seen tens of thousands of jobs go with a raft of store closures by the Debenhams, House of Fraser, New Look and Homebase chains.